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June 2010

Update on Bo's Peanut Allergy Treatment

As a reminder, Bo started his peanut allergy desensitization treatment study at Arkansas Children's Hospital in July of 2007. At the time, he was so sensitive to peanuts that he would have an allergic reaction to less than a 50th of a peanut kernal.

Bo is now eight years old and his peanut allergy treatment is now in the long term phase where we only have to visit the Doctors once a quarter instead of every other week. Since May of 2009, Bo has been eating more than 30 peanut butter M&Ms every day as part of his treatment in order to maintain his desensitization to peanuts.

Over two years ago, Bo would typically have positive reactions to five of six of the various concentrations of peanut during his skin scratch tests. During his last skin allergy test this past May, Bo had negative reactions to four out of six of the peanut concentrations!

Life has dramatically improved for Bo as direct result of his peanut allergy desensitization treatment success at Arkansas Children's Hospital over the past few years. Because he is now desensitized to peanuts enough to no longer be at risk for cross-contamination levels of peanut, Bo has been able to resume many of his favorite activities and experience new ones. More restaurants and foods are on our approved list now, we have more vacation options (Puerto Rico and Amelia Island, FL were a blast) Bo can participate in and attend baseball games where peanuts are served, eat most birthday cakes, stay overnight with friends and family and experience summer camp for the first time. In other words, life is getting more and more normal for Bo all the time thanks to his continuing peanut allergy treatment!

The goal of Bo's peanut allergy treatment study has never been to completely remove his peanut allergy, but rather to desensitize his body to peanuts to a safety level that he can live a more normal life by simply needing to avoid food in which peanuts are an actual ingredient. Eventually, once Bo's quarterly blood and skin tests results reach a certain threshold consistently, he will move into the final active phase of the peanut allergy desensitization treatment during which he will completely stop eating his daily peanut dose. The hope is that his day-to-day experience, bloodwork and skin allergy tests will continue to demonstrate that his body maintains its desensitization level to peanuts even if he stops eating his daily dose. We know this may seem ironic for the parents of a child allergic to peanuts to say... but that phase of not eating peanuts everyday and then waiting to see how his body reacts, has us a little anxious. We aren't at that stage yet, but we know it's coming.

Until then, we will continue to post occassional updates on Bo's peanut allergy desensitization success. In closing, we want to thank you for your many wonderful comments, e-mails and prayers. We also wanted to answer two of the most popular questions we get asked.

Q. Can you help me get into a food allergy treatment program?
Unfortunately, no. The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) has the most current information about food allergy treatment and study programs.

Q. Why haven't you updated Bo's peanut free food list?
Out of caution, we want to avoid adding foods to the list that Bo first ate after his peanut allergy treatments began.

P.S. As residents of south Louisiana we also ask you to keep the people and wildlife of the gulf coast devasted by the tragic oil spill in your prayers and thoughts. If you need perspective on how just how big of an area has been devastated by this ongoing oil spill tragedy, visit Input your city and the oil spill area map graphic will overlay your address and surrounding areas on Google maps.

God bless!


Bo's parents and Bo